The curious world of Charlotte Taylor
There are many perks of being a fashion journalist, but one of the best has to be getting to interview designers. Chatting to tomorrow’s tastemakers about their inspiration is eternally fascinating and we’re lucky enough to know some of London’s finest young designers. One of the hottest young brands on our radar right now is Charlotte Taylor, who’s eponymous label has grown exponentially since its launch in 2010. With a focus on quirky prints and classic shapes, Charlotte has become a firm favourite amongst London’s young celebrity circuit, with celebs like Fern Cotton and Pixi Lott sporting her designs at London Fashion Week. We caught up with Charlotte over a mani-pedi and a glass of bubbly at Adamina Spa on Kensington High Street to talk about the amazing progress of her brand and what inspires her the most.
In the recent years prints have been thrust into the fashion spotlight with the likes of Mary Katranzou producing photographic prints in hyper-vivid colours. Charlotte’s prints are no less vibrant, but rather more subtle and wearable than her contemporaries. ‘It is the essence of the brand that people warm towards – they get into the stories of the prints. It’s not about following fashion but rather wanting to have fun wearing the prints, enjoying yourself and feeling special.’ Charlotte explains.
Special is a particularly appropriate word to describe Charlotte’s prints – quirky, original and eccentric are adjectives that fit well with her work. Charlotte’s clothes immortalise unlikely candidates; penguins, lobsters and old ladies have been the subjects of Taylor’s curiosity. So much more interesting than the outdated floral print and butterflies, her prints focus on the unexpected and the unusual. The A/W13 collection, named Lost and Found, is based on derelict circuses and delves into the spectral shadows of things that were once treasured, but with the passing of time are forsaken: ‘The circus is the darkest collection I’ve done so far. There’s a really sinister element to circuses, – they were once amazing places full of joy and laughter, and then they get forgotten, and people move on to something else.’ Charlotte tells YCB.
Our favourite print from the collection is the elephant print; it portrays a hulking creature balancing precariously on a tiny ball, its trunk interlinked with the tail of his fellow performing beast. The print is simultaneously charming and poignant – it speaks of past glory days when the circus came to town, but also of cruelty and exploitation. The darkness and beauty of the collection is summed up in this emotive image, which comes in tops, skirts, dresses and jeans.
A love of telling extraordinary tales of times gone by is what makes Charlotte Taylor stand out. Her reverence for the past and people who lived through it has always been strong theme in her creative journey: ‘I love history and anything with a tale to tell. I actually started off drawing elderly faces, with all the wrinkles and creases in the skin – I find old people really inspiring. I’ve always found things that are both ugly and beautiful really inspiring.’
The brilliance of the Charlotte Taylor brand lies in the ability to combine off the wall inspiration with wearable, classic shapes resulting in clothes that women off all ages actually want to wear. So often we see designers produce amazing pieces that look beautiful on a model, but it’s clear that anyone who doesn’t happen to have the proportions of a Victoria’s Secret Angel isn’t going to look as great in the clothes. Taylor’s collections are not only interesting and have a yarn to spin, but are feasible for the real woman. The most popular piece from the collection is the printed Moleskin Jeans, loved by celebrities and the girls here at Your Coffee Break alike. However, despite Charlotte’s growing celebrity fan base, her feet are planted firmly on the ground. Her label is a family affair; her business partner is her older brother Ben, who joined the label in 2011 and Charlotte’s ultimate style icon is her grandmother: ‘My grandmother had clothes from every decade from the last 50 years, but when she put it all together she looked amazing. I don’t believe in putting people on a pedestal for no reason, they’ve got to earn it.‘
Taylor is intrinsically unpretentious; even though her sources of inspiration are sometimes obscure and her success has been rapid, she has retained an unassuming attitude that comes through in her work. She stands apart from other designers who are content with making high concept frocks that no one can wear; hers are clothes that can be worn every day, but remain special. With the launch of her own store in Chelsea and the continued growth of her brand, we anticipate big things for Charlotte Taylor.
For more info or to get your hands on Charlotte Taylor’s quirky design, visit: www.charlottetaylorltd.com